The Athens Lions Club will again bring a piece of America to life this summer with the opening of their annual Kiddie Carnival June 29th. A mixture of joy, excitement and anticipation will fill the air as veteran and new riders wait their turn to ride one of the 10 rides for toddlers and young children. One such ride is the small vintage train that circles on its own track, riders scream and raise their arms as it goes through the dark train shed. Other kids and families wait in line for delicious favorites including funnel cakes, popcorn and hamburgers. Concessions also include corn dogs, chicken sandwiches, cold drinks, snow cones and dippin dots.

The Athens Lions Club Kiddie Carnival has provided generations of fun for kids and their parents, grandparents and friends. Located at the same site since 1957; it’s a summer pastime for many who now bring their kids out to enjoy the Kiddie Carnival. The Kiddie Carnival will open June 29th, with an opening ceremony at 6:00pm and rides opening around 6:30pm. Each ride requires just one 50 cent ticket. Families from surrounding communities are learning about this summer treasure of fun for their young kids.

As families enter the Kiddie Carnival, to their right old vintage rocket ships circle as the motor hums, kids giggle and watch the crowd as they zoom around. Just as the riders settle into the flight a Lion member changes the control so the rockets rise up a few feet, circle for a while in “orbit” and then drop back down. Other rides include small and large swings, a parachute ride that takes riders up as it circles and then come back down and a small scale roller coaster. The scrambler ride circles on its platform as kids spin in their seat, heading toward the crowd and then back to the center. Enjoyed by toddlers are the old fashion pedal cars that go around and the carousel with horses, as their parents stand beside them on the ride. For the more adventurous riders there is a small ferris wheel that takes the riders up above the crowd where they look over the sights and sounds of another fun night at the Kiddie Carnival.

The Kiddie Carnival is operated by Athens Lions Club members and other countless volunteers. Assistance to operate the Kiddie Carnival is provided by spouses of club members, the Leo Club, local high school sororities and other civic groups and businesses as well as individual volunteers.

Athens Lions President Tim Carter stated “It is a wonderful experience each summer to be able to witness all the kids having such a grand time at the carnival and knowing that at the same time we are raising funds that go to help some of our less fortunate families with expenses for correcting their visual problems.”

A part of the funds from last year’s Kiddie Carnival were recently used to fund scholarships for 5 local high school seniors who volunteered at the carnival and met other criteria. Lions International key focus area is sight. The Athens Lions Club supports this by helping those in the Athens who qualify with sight exams or glasses, as well as collecting used eyeglasses to be recycled. In the past year they have supported Alabama Lions Sight Conservation Association, Camp ASCCA and Camp Seale Harris, a camp for youth with diabetes and local causes.

The club, through manpower or funding, has provided assistance to Limestone Career Technical School Leo Club; Learn to read council, Hospice of Limestone County, Superhero Fun Day, Athens Grease Festival and the Athens Storytelling Festival. The big train has been taken to numerous civic events including riding in the Athens Christmas parade and providing rides at the Limestone Sherriff’s Special Needs Rodeo. It is the generous support of the Kiddie Carnival that allows these programs and community support by the Athens Lions Club.

The Kiddie Carnival is located across from Athens Middle School at 309 E Forrest Street. It is open every Thursday, Friday & Saturday night June 29th-August 5th from 6:30pm-9:30pm. Additional information about the Kiddie Carnival can be found at http://e-clubhouse.org/sites/athensal/ or their Facebook page: Athens Lions Club Kiddie Carnival.

Dan Mankins has been a part of Premier Structures, Incorporated since 2003, when the founders, Will and Helen Evans were both actively involved. Mr. Evans passed away in 2006, at which point Miss Helen asked Dan to manage PSI, and in 2012 he purchased the business. They are in their 31st year, and things are going well. However, they recently plunged into a project that they never expected – being a part of solar energy making a comeback and coming of age.

I was actually delivering papers to PSI when I saw a building permit displayed in the window, indicating that they were in the middle of a solar-panel project. Curious, I talked with Dan, and he decided it was time to tell PSI’s “Solar Story.” By way of background, solar energy has been a bit “iffy” since it was first introduced on a large scale in the mid-‘80s. The panels were not sturdy, the output was not that great, and enthusiasm for the concept declined. Dan actually lives in a subdivision in Elkmont that was originally designed to be solar powered, and at present, not one house has any functional type of solar unit producing energy. Then solar became somewhat part of a political football, as did reduction in power consumption in general. The whole building industry had to make adjustments in the way they insulated walls, as well as the kind of lighting they used. They have gotten good at LED lighting installation and usage, and are also grateful that those ugly squiggly bulbs are a thing of the past.

Nevertheless, Dan will be the first to tell you that he was not at all interested in hearing the sales presentations of vendors who specialized in solar energy. “I had a pretty high level of sales resistance, but customers started asking about it and for it, and I knew I had to do research.” He discovered that much had changed since the ‘80s and ‘90s, and that solar was indeed coming into its own. However, it took sitting down with a man who worked for someone Dan trusted, and having the opportunity to ask the toughest questions he could, that caused Dan to change his mind. He discovered that today’s solar panels are thicker, better, and now have a 25-year warranty. In addition, there were all kinds of grants available from the TVA. Dan also mentioned that the older he gets, the more the idea of being “energy independent” appeals to him as a business owner. He also mentioned that when he builds his next home for his family, it will include solar energy.

Dan also became aware of the fact that municipalities all across the country were taking a new look at solar and were implementing it into their city planning. He also knew that in Elkmont, there is a thriving solar farm on Sandlin Road generating a considerable amount of power and selling it back to the grid. He decided to take the plunge and construct a solar installation in the shed on the back part of the PSI property. Dan had a specific goal in mind, and that was to eliminate PSI’s utility bill, which annually is six thousand dollars. They are on track to not only accomplish that goal, but the project will pay for itself in seven years.

Dan says he has become a “raving fan,” and he’s not alone. Cinemagic Theatre in Athens is installing some panels. He says, “It’s becoming collaborative, and there are projects also in Pulaski and Huntsville.” Dan also mentioned that the light poles all along Memorial Parkway are solar. The same is the case with the light poles at Wal-Mart. He says “It’s the wave of the future.” He also knows that there are areas where the designs need some work, but is confident that they will continue to improve as well as be more versatile, and more types of projects will be able to be solar based.

With regard to the grants, Dan said he’s seen a certain pattern, and he wants to pass this information on to the consumer. Back a few years ago, when solar was making a comeback, grants were plentiful and TVA was a little looser with the purse strings. The grants could be drying up, though, so if the possibility of “going solar” is something you have considered either for a residential or commercial solar project, now is the time to come to PSI and have a serious sit-down with Dan to look at your options. He and his team will be more than happy to give you the help that only comes from experience.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Cheryl Blakely Barksdale was born in September of 1953. She graduated from Athens Bible School, and her daddy worked at Flanagan Lumber. In 1974, she married Wayne Barksdale, who spent most of his career working at PPG in Huntsville. For her part, Cheryl ran a day care service from her home for 25 years. “I am still in touch with lots of the kids,” she said, and added, “The kiddos are having kiddos, and I am a grandma to a zillion.” Cheryl lost her husband, lives with their daughter, and when I met her, she had just found out that she was going to be able to go home the next day. She had been at Limestone Health Facility for three months, and while she was greatly pleased with all the care she had received, she was more than ready to go home.

While we were in the day room, staff and residents alike came in to wish her well, give her a gift, or wave from the glass outside the room. Cheryl said that she had been treated just like family. “The food has been wonderful, the care has been wonderful, and every little thing that you need—you’ve got it!” She also had a roommate who was also going through physical rehab and has become a bosom buddy. They were due to be released the same day, and have promised to stay in touch.

Cheryl’s daughter tells her, “You have not looked this good in years.” Cheryl says that the therapy has been holistic, and has really helped her.

While Wayne was still alive, the Barksdales fellowshipped at Eastside Church of Christ, then Jackson Drive Church of Christ, and their church life was very important to all of them. I asked Cheryl what her favorite hymn was, and she told me a title I had never heard: “When All Of God’s Singers Get Home.” Her favorite scripture is “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths,” better known as Proverbs 3:5-6. Her favorite book in the Bible is Psalms, and we moved on to the topic of her other favorites.

Her favorite color? “Blue.”
Her favorite food to cook? “Spaghetti with a thick meat sauce.” She also made fried peach pies for Jiffy for about three years.
Her favorite actress? Maureen O’Hara. We talked about Maureen’s movies with “the Duke,” and how “they just don’t make ‘em like that anymore.” It took awhile for us to remember the title of “The Quiet Man,” which is one of their most famous.
Favorite President? “Reagan.”

Biggest change in her lifetime? “The Internet.” We talked about the fact that in our homes when we were growing up we had encyclopedias, both World Book and the Encyclopedia Britannica, and now all we have to do is “google” something and we can find it.

Best advice to young people? “Be careful what you do and look out for others.” Good words from a woman with a grateful heart.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

It was Christmas of 2012, and John and Amanda McGrew decided that they were going to accept the “All America Challenge.” That meant that every gift they bought had to have one thing going for it – it had to have been made in the good ol’ US of A. They were successful in their endeavor, had a blessed holiday, and a few years later decided to start Homeland Trading, which is located at the intersection of Forrest and Hwy 31 in Athens, right near CVS Pharmacy. The address is 1207 East Forrest Street.
It was July of 2015 when they opened up shop, and I have rarely seen a harder working and more determined set of entrepreneurs. They both have other full-time jobs in the construction fields, and for two years have put everything into Homeland in order to make it a go. The good news is that on July 14, they are throwing a birthday party as well as an anniversary sale, and you are invited! Amanda said, “There will be a storewide markdown of 20%, and refreshments will be served.” (The 20% does not apply to items that have already been reduced.)

The McGrews have always made it clear that they are not opposed to imports, they just have felt that things were out of balance, and America was coming up on the short end of the stick when it comes to jobs and the economy in general. “So many people think that Wranglers are made in America, and they aren’t, except for just a tiny high-end part of the line,” said Amanda. Wrangler is not the only one whose attempts to appear “all-American” are confusing. Carhartt produces most of their clothing in Mexico, and Levis also produce just a very high-end line items here in America. Their “American-made jeans” are a whopping $150 apiece, and this unfortunately perpetuates the misunderstanding that if you “buy American” you are going to be paying through the nose. Homeland Trading Company carries two lines, Roundhouse and Union Line, which are more than reasonably priced. One customer said, “This is how my Carhartts used to fit,” and loves the quality. Amanda said, “Even if a customer isn’t a ‘part of the movement’ to buy American, no one has ever taken issue with us saying, ‘Buying American is good for America.’” To the McGrews, this is just a way of showing patriotism that benefits everyone.

Some of the changes in the summer season that Homeland is going to be making will be transitioning away from work boots and making room for children’s clothes. A most popular item is camo overalls for kids. The toddler girl camos even have little pink ruffles along the trouser cuffs. Another item that is a big hit are the Alabama Wholesale Socks. Talk about being “made in America,” these are 100% cotton, made over yonder in Ft. Payne, and are cheaper than what you will get at a big-box store. “They are made here, packed by hand, and they even include a hand-written note thanking me for my business,” said Amanda. “Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about,” I replied.

Besides the anniversary party, Homeland Trading is going to have a boutique/booth at the Piney Chapel Antique Show, to be held on August 4 and 5. The work boots will be clearance priced, and there will be jeans, overalls, and big and little pocket T-shirts. These are plain, no logos, and are perfect for work or school. There will also be socks for the whole family. That weekend happens to be the back-to-school tax-free weekend; so you can get a good deal of your school shopping done while enjoying the unique atmosphere of a small town festival.

I asked Amanda if the Made In America Movement is gaining traction. She said, “Yes! There are more Made In America options that are the real deal, and more online items are now available.” She also told me that from her point of view, she is “proud to have been associated early on with a movement that is growing.” For my part, I am enormously proud of John and Amanda. They took a huge risk to bless us with things we need and a commitment to grow our local economy, have worked themselves down to a nub, and still have the desire to throw a family-friendly party. That indeed is the American Dream, and may the Made In America Movement spread from sea to shining sea.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Combine togas with fried foods and quirky events like a frozen turkey toss and you have the ingredients for a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event.

The organization named the Athens Grease Festival a Top 20 Event in the Southeast for September 2017. Athens Main Street will host the festival on Sept. 30 in Downtown Athens. The festival is a play on words that honors the Greek origin of the city’s name and all things fried. Organizers caution spectators to “eat responsibly the other 364 days of the year.”

The event includes naming an Athena-Grease Goddess to honor a woman from Limestone County who gives back to Athens through community service. The event also has art activities for children, contests, music and fried delicacies like fried pies, fried fruits and fried bacon dishes.

“Organizers started the festival in 2012 to provide our community with a family-friendly event in Downtown Athens and to fundraise so we can support downtown revitalization,” said Athens Grease Festival Publicity Chair Holly Hollman. “We draw thousands to downtown who enjoy highlighting our Southern eccentricity by riding a mechanical bull in toga, tossing a frozen turkey and wearing creative togas, including some for a favorite football team or those made from camouflage material.”
Athens Main Street utilizes funds generated by the Athens Grease Festival to invest in downtown improvements, such as financially supporting new electrical outlets that provide safe access to electricity for musical acts and food vendors as well as handicap-accessible sidewalks and crossings.

The Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Festival and Event Awards have highlighted Southeast-area programs like the Grease Festival since 1985. Travel industry experts select 20 events per month, and the Southeast Tourism Society publicizes them throughout the United States by publishing them on two websites: EscapeToTheSoutheast.com and Travel Media Press Room.

Events considered for Top 20 recognition must be at least three years old and have attendance of at least 1,000. This will be the fifth Athens Grease Festival.

“The Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Festival and Event list is an excellent guide for the Southeast’s visitors, residents and travel writers. The events selected represent the best, and often most unique, activities in our region,” said Bill Hardman, president and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society.

The Athens Grease Festival thrives on uniqueness and made Al.com’s list for “One of the Oddest Festivals in Alabama” and attempted to set a world record for largest toga party in 2014.

About Southeast Tourism Society

Southeast Tourism Society, founded in 1983 and headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting tourism to and within 12 states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
By: Holly Hollman

“Bring your earplugs. You’re gonna need ‘em,” said Garth Lovvorn with his trademark grin. Why? Because Temple of Blood, a heavy metal band whose members are Christians, husbands, fathers, and members of their respective church’s praise bands are going to be kicking off this year’s Singing on the Square series.

On Friday, May 19, Temple of Blood and another metal band known as Contagon (pronounced “contagion”) will be performing on the Limestone County Courthouse Square from 6-8 pm. This year marks a bit of a departure from the norm, but Garth told me there is quite the “metal movement” amongst the youth of Athens, and he wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few hundred who show up.

Before you recoil in horror and fear that this means Athens has been invaded by rock stars whose music and lifestyles are not fit for human consumption, nothing could be further from the truth. Temple was founded in 2001 by Jim Mullis, and Garth has been with them off and on from the beginning. Garth came back full time around two years ago, plays bass and occasionally provides back-up vocals.

“Our songs are biblical,” said Garth, “And sometimes what is biblical is real and raw. Faith is critical to our message and the music we do, and the Bible is a great source for songs.” If you think about what used to happen at the temples of the Old Testament, you can’t escape from the fact that there was a whole lot of blood. He told me that years ago, when the band was first getting started, they would play around other metal bands whose lifestyles were those that would make mamas want to hide their children, and the fact that Temple was different opened up opportunities to get the Word out. “We have people who have come up to us after concerts, or have contacted us through Facebook, that have told us they were touched and encouraged by our music,” he said. Garth also told me that almost all of the famous metal bands have men of faith in them, and in addition, metal bands are famous for their support of the military. Anyone who has ever seen Gene Simmons and KISS do a musical tribute to the members of our armed services knows what I am talking about. “This is about God, this is about country, and this is about America. If you know the words, sing it,” says Simmons as he and the band get the crowd of troops from all the branches on their feet singing “God Bless America.”

“We know this is not for everybody,” says Garth. “We definitely have a niche, and not everyone will like us.” We talked about the fact that music builds community and brings commerce to our city. “Back in the day our band traveled all over the Southeast, and we know that people drive hundreds of miles to hear bands,” said Garth. He added, “We are just some middle-aged guys playing the music we love, and we are not trying to become rock stars.”

We laughed about movies that have been made about bands, and Garth said, “We are a combination of The Blues Brothers, Wayne’s World, and Airheads.” So I asked, “You’re putting the band back together and are on a ‘mission from God?’” (This is probably the most famous line from Blues Brothers.) We laughed again.

“Ok,” I said, “Why should I come to hear you?” “It’s original stuff, and we enjoy what we do. We do ‘hair metal’ for fun,” said Garth. For those of you who have no idea what ‘hair metal’ is, Wikipedia defines it like this: “Glam metal (also known as hair metal and often used synonymously with pop metal) is a subgenre of heavy metal which features pop-influenced hooks and guitar riffs, and borrows from the fashion of 1970s glam rock.”

A further explanation is from the actual use of the word “hair.” If you were around in the 80s or 90s, everyone had “big hair,” whether they were in a glam band or not, which then led to the term “hair metal.” Just take a look at a high school yearbook from that era, and you’ll see what I mean. I don’t know if Garth is going to wear a wig, but I do know that he told me with confidence, “If you like 80s heavy metal, you’ll like us.” He also mentioned that they want to showcase Contagon’s music, as well as desiring to make contact with the metal kids who are working hard at El Opry, which is located on Hwy 127 just as you leave Athens proper heading toward Elkmont.

Temple of Blood hopes that if this type of music “resonates” with you, you’ll bring your family as well as your earplugs and join them on May 19 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Limestone County Courthouse Square. It is located at 200 W Washington Street, Athens, AL. The concert will be held rain or shine on the east side, which is Marion Street.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Twelve years ago, Amy Glasgow started teaching school in the Huntsville Public School System. She started out in UNA’s nursing program, and then realized that education was her true calling. She graduated from Athens State University with a K-6 certification. She then got her Master’s degree in Special Education, and currently is teaching 2nd graders in a regular classroom at Lakewood Elementary. Amy loves to teach math because she has access to such great curriculum. She also greatly enjoys teaching reading because she likes the small-group work. She serves as a go-to resource person for other teachers who need ideas for their special education students, and I know first-hand from talking with Amy that her dedication to her profession runs deep. However, Amy has another “love,” and that’s animals, any kind. “I love everything from spiders and snakes to dogs, cats, and horses,” she told me. So keen is her passion to be with her animal friends that in addition to her responsibilities as a teacher, wife, and mom, she has a second career as a dog groomer.

Amy is the owner of Paws and Whiskers Boutique, and would like to invite all of you to her Grand Opening event on Saturday, May 13, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. The boutique is located in an outbuilding at Amy’s home, and is on the edge of a huge yard where dogs who are boarded get to play. The address is 14899 Old Banford Street, in Athens just off Capshaw Road. From 1-3 p.m. there will be live music, hot dogs, water and photos with pets. All day will be raffles and door prizes for things such as a free grooming, free boarding, specialty gifts from in-store, and more. If you are not able to make it between 1 and 3, stop by anytime during 11 a.m.-7 p.m. to tour the facilities and enter the contests.

Amy and her husband have undertaken an extensive remodeling project in preparation for the Grand Opening. The entrance of boutique is the retail part, with numbers of must-have items such as leashes, feeding bowls, toys, clothes, and accessories. The back boasts two washing sinks, grooming platforms, cages, doggy doors for boarders to have free access to the back yard, and storage.

One of Amy’s skills is dealing with dogs that are, for lack of a better term, “complicated.” She had a dog that was nervous and described by the owners as a biter. Amy asked the owner to toss her the leash, sat down cross-legged in her driveway, and bit by bit drew the dog to her through the use of the leash. As she slowly and carefully got acquainted with the dog, the dog ended up sitting on her leg and licked her. The owners were amazed, and Amy and the dog are now friends. “I love all dogs if they don’t fight me,” she said. She also tells of a standard poodle that came into the shop with his head down and unable to socialize or make eye contact. After he was groomed, Amy said, “The change in him was remarkable. It was as though his confidence had been restored.”

“I not only want the owners to feel good, I want the dogs to feel good and be at their best,” Amy told me. I asked her why I should choose her as a groomer for a dog, and here’s what she said: “I will do for your dog what needs to be done to make them feel their best. I’ll also do it at a reasonable price.”One of the things Amy offers to clients who have dogs with lighter colored coats is a blueberry facial wash. It helps reduce the appearance of tear stains. She also features natural dog products developed by a firm called Nu Vet. They are recommended by veterinarians and are made with human grade ingredients. They support immune function, and contain no fillers, artificial flavors, or binding agents. They fight free radical damage, which is a major source of illness both in pets as well as humans.

Nu Vet products have been known to help dogs suffering from dry skin, allergies, dry eyes, hair loss, hot spots, and more. Cats have benefitted as well, and both dogs and cats which had no energy have gotten their “zip” back. Amy swears by this stuff.
Amy has a reputation as a boarder for going above and beyond, just as she does for her students. Recently Amy was paid a high compliment by her neighbor, and it was this: “I know when you are boarding dogs that they’ll be safe. They’ll have playtime, be fed, watered, given attention, and not stuck in a cage. They’ll be well taken care of.”

Come on May 13 to see Paws and Whiskers Boutique for yourself and see what Amy has to offer you and your canine “kids.”
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

People in Athens are finding rocks painted with everything from geometric designs to Transformers to words of wisdom.

Roberta Ress, an artist with High Cotton Arts, started the painted rock project on March 18 with the Athens ROCKS kickoff event. Children and adults painted rocks and hid them in public places around Athens. During the paint session, Ress read a book called, “Everybody Needs A Rock.”

Now, couples dining on The Square, Girl Scout troops, business owners and walkers are finding the painted rocks in planters downtown, around the Courthouse and at Big Spring Memorial Park.

As people find a rock, they are encouraged to post a photo on the Athens ROCKS Facebook page of their find and then to re-hide it.

Athens and Limestone County are embarking on their 200th birthday in 2018. The State of Alabama, which turns 200 in 2019, is hosting a three-year celebration, and Athens and Limestone County are participating. The 2017 statewide theme is “Explore Our Places.” Athens ROCKS is a way to encourage families to sightsee and explore their own community.

“The Athens ROCKS project highlights that art is fun and art is educational,” said Athens Arts League Board President Amy Golden. “Tying the project into part of our local Bicentennial celebrations is a fabulous way to encourage citizens to learn more about their own city and enjoy creating their own piece of art.”

High Cotton Arts is located in Downtown Athens at 103 West Washington Street. Athens Arts League operates the non-profit arts incubator to support artists, provide art education and bring cultural events to the community.
By: Holly Hollman

The Senior Rehab and Recovery Center at Limestone Health Facility has one sharp cookie in the form of Mrs. Jessie Ruth Underwood as one of their residents. She was born at home on October 24, 1929 near Ardmore on the Alabama side. Five days later would be the official beginning of the Great Depression. Jessie was the baby of seven – five boys and two girls. Her parents farmed “just about everything from milk cows to crops,” she said.

Eighteen years later Jessie Ruth married, and her husband very much wanted to serve in WWII, but had a hernia which prevented him from enlisting. They had three children, two boys and a girl, and Jessie says she “done lost count of the grandkids and great-grandkids.” Lynnville Church of Christ was her life-long church home, and she was baptized at the age of 15.

When Jessie was first married, she worked at the phone company, but was then able to stay at home once her children came along. Her husband, she said, “did a little bit of everything; picked cotton, picked corn, built houses, and cut trees.”
We moved to the topic of favorites, and Jessie’s favorite color is blue.

Favorite food to either make or eat? Fried chicken. She also loves dressing, and wanted me to know that the only way for dressing to be good is to serve it warm.

Favorite book? The Bible.
Favorite Bible verse? “The Golden Rule. My husband used to say, ‘Treat people the way you want to be treated.’”
Favorite hymn? “Amazing Grace.” We talked for a while about just how good that song is, and how it never goes out of style.”
Favorite US President? John Fitzgerald Kennedy. We also chatted about how clear the day of the Kennedy assassination still is to us both, all these years later.

Biggest change in Jessie’s lifetime? “Landing on the moon. Many things have happened before and since, but that moon landing was something,” she said.

Jessie came to Limestone Health Facility about four years ago, and likes it there. Savannah, one of the activities coordinators said, “She’s really good at Bingo.” Jessie showed me her most recent prize, which she won on Good Friday. It was a purple Easter egg that featured cross-shaped, fruit-flavored candies in it. She also won a silver-colored glittery nail kit in a previous game. We needed to wrap up our time together because the next Bingo game was due to start soon. As we headed outside to the beautiful garden to take Jessie’s picture, I was able to scope out some of the prizes that were waiting for the Bingo winner, and this game was no doubt going to be spirited.

I asked Jessie if there was anyone on staff that had taken especially good care of her, and she said with a smile that a nurse by the name of Aurea had done so.

Jessie told me that the advice she would give to young people today is, “Make sure you have the Lord as your Savior. Trust Him and obey Him, and He’ll see you through.” Timeless advice from a woman who continues to live life well, Jessie Ruth Underwood.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

The Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives, Scout House and Athens-Limestone Public Library are among the many local projects that have benefitted from the Boy Scout program.

Scouts seeking the Eagle Scout rank have volunteered throughout the city and county to improve facilities, assist non-profits and beautify the community.

On Wednesday, April 5, local leaders gathered for the annual Athens-Limestone Community Breakfast to raise funds to support the Arrowhead District, which serves Limestone County Scouts. Eric Blackwell, the director of plant operations at Polaris, was the keynote speaker. Blackwell stressed that employers like Polaris place importance on career tech education and the values instilled in those involved in Scouting.

As part of the program, the Scouts honored three schools for their efforts to be creative in offering career-related education to students. The three schools that received Heart of an Eagle awards were:

  • Athens Renaissance School
  • Limestone County Career Technical Center
  • Calhoun Community College

A committee comprised of Scouts, the City of Athens, Limestone County Commission and Limestone County Schools organized the breakfast, which was sponsored in part by Steelcase and Redstone Federal Credit Union.

“The City of Athens and Limestone County understand the importance of supporting programs that engage our youth in civic endeavors,” Mayor Ronnie Marks said. “These are our future leaders, and programs like Scouting teach them to be invested in the community.”
By: Holly Hollman